All Articles For Taking Heed to the Doctrine

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Previous article in this series: May 15 2020, p. 378. Last time we explained that justification—including the assurance and experience of justification—is by faith and not by works. Although we made fine distinctions among justification, the assurance of it, and the experience of it, they are all fundamentally one. The experience and assurance of justification in one’s consciousness is justification. Justification is a forensic or legal concept that takes us into the courtroom—not an earthly courtroom of man, but the divine courtroom of heaven, where everything speaks of perfect righteousness. Come, now, into the au­gust courtroom of God and it...

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Reformed believers officially confess to believe the apos­tolicity of the church. The Nicene Creed is one of our official creeds, and in this creed we con­fess to believe “one holy catholic and apostolic church.” Thus it is very important that we understand the meaning of the church’s apos­tolicity, so that we may confess this truth with understanding from the heart. When considering the aposto­licity of the church we once again make a distinction between the church as the universal body of the elect and the church as an institute upon this earth. First of all, it is the church as...

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Previous article in this series: November 15, 2019, p. 90. Good We have been looking at the nature of the believer’s good works as works, but now turn our attention to the nature of those works as good. Scripture denominates some of our works “good.” While Matthew 5:16 is representative of those biblical passages that speak of the good works of elect believers in general, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven,” Acts 9:36 specifically identifies one individual believer who did good works, “Now there...

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Previous article in this series: February 15 2020, p. 229. Having examined the nature of the believer’s good works, we now turn our attention to the historically contentious subject of the function of good works. We know what good works are as the fruits that proceed from the good root of faith, but what function do these works serve in the life of the child of God? We begin with an examination of the relation be­tween good works and justification. We begin with justification because in the daily consciousness of the believer, justification is of first rank among all the...

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Previous article: May 15, 2017, p. 370 At bottom, the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century was a return to the supreme authority of Holy Scripture. The Latin phrases coined by the Reformers to express their conviction were sola Scriptura and prima Scriptura. Scripture alone is the rule of faith and life. What Christians believe and how they live is determined only by Scripture. Scripture rules over the individual believer and over the church as a whole. It rules over the local church and over all church assemblies and councils. Nothing apart from Scripture need be believed or obeyed, and...

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Previous article in this series: October 1, 2019, p. 15. Benefits of written communication God has chosen to reveal Himself to men through written language. Even apart from the miracle of divine inspiration, written language is an amazing form of communication. To be sure, throughout history it has often been subverted into the service of the lie, from false advertising to Nazi propaganda to outright denial of the truths of the Word of God. But at the same time, it is unparalleled as a means of setting forth the truth. Of all possible forms of communication, the written word is...

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Previous article in this series: August 2019, p. 475. Scripture is a book of works, the works of God and the works of many other creatures that the sovereign God works together to serve His glorious purpose in Jesus Christ throughout history. In understanding our good works as works, it is helpful to survey the whole Bible in its presentation of works and then relate our good works to all other kinds of works. 1. The works of Christ In briefly outlining the vast biblical category of works, we begin with the works of God. The entire Bible, beginning with...

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Previous article in this series: April 1, 2019, p. 303. In our last article, we introduced the final important truth with regard to Holy Scripture that we intend to consider in this series: the Spirit’s work of illumination. Among all the other works of the Holy Spirit in connection with Scripture is the Spirit’s work of illumination. This is the Spirit’s work in the believer that results in the opening of his eyes and enlightening his understanding. The fruit of this work of the Spirit is that the child of God receives Holy Scripture as the Word of God. It...

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Works occupy a prominent place in Scripture; in fact, Scripture is from beginning to end a book of works. Scripture attributes works to the triune God, Christ, angels—wicked and holy, and men—wicked and holy. We begin our examination of the good works of the believer by considering the nature of good works and noting five general characteristics of our good works as works. A conscious, acting subject First, works are those deeds consciously and volitionally performed by rational, moral beings. Strictly speaking, a creature like the sky is not capable of performing works. Psalm 19:1 teaches, “The heavens declare the...

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We obey. We do. We labor. We work. We must work. We can work. We do work. By the power of Christ’s Spirit we elect believers who have been called into communion with Christ do good works. But what is the relation between our doing of good works of obedience according to the law of God and our salvation—our justification and sanctification? What is the relation between our doing of good works and our experience and assurance of the love of God in His covenant? With this article we take up a biblical and confes­sional examination of the massive, fascinating,...

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